Monday, February 22, 2010

DPSing Naxx

I rarely get to DPS as Guthammer in raids. Its something I decided that I wanted to explore and maybe even master a bit (once I started using the Dungeon Finder and swimming in Triumph badges).

But even in my own charter I get slotted as tank--a lot. Saturday I got do DPS Naxx and without any of the administrative duties either. I have no clue how I did relative to my potential, but came out having done a reasonable 4500 DPS or so, per recount.

I also like to DPS the occasional raid so that I can have some insights into what the other roles are like in game. When I started this I was like "ZOMG! I have to follow the mobs?? They don't always follow me?"--which, you know, is a luxury that you do get as a tank in a raid. Most of the time the mob you want to be hitting will be following you. Handy that.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Wait..That Wasn't a Pug

Really, because I saw exceptional PUG like behavior from 3 DPSers on my server, in my freaking raid alliance, some of whom I have tanked for 3+ years ago.


Ok, I get invited by a guildy to a heroic (well actually I invite her to mine, but Reluctant Tree already has a group and She Who Speaks Horde has already done a daily) so I join her group. I find a DK, a second warrior (as DPS, arms) and rogue as we zone into Halls of Stone.

Reluctant Tree is not reluctant because of her skills--I remember thinking well of her healing in BC--but that she's relatively new as an 80 and being focusing on DPS for gearing. We convince her that, barring an ICC heroic, my 39k HP (WTF?? when did I get 39 kHP?) would be enough to do any heroic. The DPSer were at least acquaintances .

And off the freaking rails. Sure we could burst 20k DPS on packs. But Reluctant Tree only had 15k mana. And asked for mana time. I admit I was bad in not checking her mana between pulls myself. While she's drinking, and I am hanging out in back with her, the DPS pulls. And I save their bacon. And she saves mine.

Then rankwatch goes off, telling her that she's using down ranked spells. She asks for a minute to check her spells and learn where her buttons are. And the DPS goes off and pulls again--by the elder this time. And I charge in to save their bacon. Again. This time I blew all my cool downs as I figured Reluctant Tree was still nose in book, figuring out her UI.

These DPSers had mainlined "GOGOGOGO" and gave Reluctant Tree (and me) even less time than they would in a regular pug.

By the end of the run, while RT had managed to not let anyone die (I did miss agro getting on the warrior once, early on and got him flattened) I was one pissed off dwarf. The DPS treated us, or more specifically RT, horribly.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

ICC 10: Progress and Expectations

Its amazing what different expectations can lead to. She Who Speaks Horde is used to a more stable core of raiders (though I think our ICC10 is about to tick over into a stable composition) while I am used to Breakfast Club's..umm special raiding. BC has a long history for wiping on stuff that we never ever should and finding really weird ways to wipe. BC, as a charter, is very laid back and is a teaching raid (or so we claim).

So we came out with very different feelings about our progress last night. We one shotted Marrowgar (a first for us--saving at least an hour there), 2 shotted Lady Deathwisper--my system stuttered for about 6 seconds between P1 and P2, during which she took the time to frost bolt me for 30k, one shotted the Gunship battle and 1.5 shotted Sourfang. (Ranged DPS disconnected early in our first fight and we leashed him.)

We even had a 2 healer one shot on Precious (though there were a TON of ghouls up afterword) and started to learn the Rotface encounter.

I, used to, as I am, to BC's ways, and wiping for an hour or more on Marrowgar, I am ticked pink. She Who Speaks Horde, being used to progression raiders and consistent sign ups had a higher bar set. I also think she's molding some excellent raiders.

Friday, February 12, 2010

The Grind

Most people playing WOW spend a lot of time grinding. Right now, at 80, I am grinding Frost Badges. That means a heroic a day from now until about Cataclysm. I really should be grinding 3 heroics, for my 2 80 alts for primal saronite--but I haven't been that motivated.

You would think that I can handle a grind in any game at this point.

But it all depends on the grind mechanic. I finished off Mass Effect 2 (on the 360) finally, and I have to say that I absolutely /hate/ their grind--mining. You need it to customize/upgrade your ship, your weapons and your powers. Mining, prospecting, fits in not at all with your mission as a super secret agent, a Marine and one of the galaxy's ultimate bad-asses. Wait, I will go save the galaxy, but I just need 25,000 more platinum first.

The real problem is the play unit in the ME2 grind, is very simple and boring. It would be no more than a play element in WOW, but in ME2 it--by itself--is a couple of hours of game play. Its like having to taunt a shield bash a training dummy--for hours. And on the 360 at least, you have to keep a trigger pulled the whole time you are scanning. The game design induces finger and wrist fatigue, since controller also vibrates when you find some concentrations of minerals. And finally the initial scan speed for a planet is way too slow and the improved is just a bit too fast (for me at least).

The sheer monotony of the mining "mini-game" has me so turned off I am really torn about doing a second play through.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Taking the Blame

So last night was the first raid with She Who Speaks Horde with us and, with my blessing, running things with much tighter control, and better knowledge, than I ever would express. And it paid some nice rewards. While still not quite one shotting Marrowgar, the number of attempts was way, way down. She Who Speaks has good situational awareness and is really spot on. While we need the extra direction at the moment, I don't want to run the kind of raid where the raiders are just the marionettes of the raid leaders will.

I have been quite taken with Itay Talgam's conducting talk and I seem some strong links raiding. I do want my raiders to be their own agents, being force by the contours of the fight into action, not because they are following the absolute will of the raid lead. I want to hear from the when they feel that the way the fight goes suggests some action from them that we haven't thought of or covered.

This, of course, can occasionally lead to confusion. One of our Sourfang tries there was a great deal of confusion over which of the Blood Beasts we were supposed to be killing. We started with the hunter agroing the near beast, but were supposed to have switched to killing the far one and CCing the near.

After that wipe people were getting a bit frustrated and I was hearing 4 voices going in Vent at the same time, starting the play the blame game. It was one of the few times where I did my thing as a raid lead--it was /my/ fault that the instructions weren't clear. The blame, clearly, was mine. So lets res, make sure that my instructions are clear, and kill him.

What do you know, but it worked. Next week we are quite likely to be playing with Festergut.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Don't Be Rude

She Who Speaks Horde has now transferred over to the Alliance on my server, as a deep cover spy, as she says.

Yesterday we ran a heroic Oculus together. She Who Speaks Horde accidentally pulled the Lay Guardian while we weren't all together and I, on my red drake, was at about 2/3s health and we had some whelp agro.

Not surprisingly, we wiped. The mage in our group, oddly enough in the lowest GS (I have finally installed it, as it does give some useful information--but nothing to bank on) said "FFS, a wipe", I asked him to apologize. She Who Speaks Horde owned up to the error. He didn't and someone, I don't know who, started a kick vote for the obnoxious mage, which passed.

So the obnoxiouse mage, got kicked just before the Lay Guardian while we were recovering.
I hope he enjoyed his DPS queue time for his 2 frost. It would have been perfect if his replacement didn't start with a "gogogo" when he got up to the top.

Can't win them all.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Changing Relationships: Healers, RDF and Me

(G)TFL had an interesting post about tree hugging. I was going to say that it really hadn't changed my relationship with healers--but he made me think it it has.

Where as players on my server are actually people, thanks to the lack of tools from Blizzard for cross server chat, all others have been reduced to mere numbers. I mean I know they are still people, and I would like to connect at least some of them--but they are only part of my life for these 15 action packed minutes. Not only am I unlikely to see them again, its difficult to actually talk to them once we are done.

I am, if you ask me, catastrophically overgeared for most 5 mans. There is very little that can kill me in i200 dungeons other than stupidity or inattentiveness. My healer is reduced to a mana pool. If the pool is high, I keep on pulling, if not I stop. The DPS, generally, gets even less attention. I don't care about their mana. If they pull aggro they are probably even more overgeared than I am for the instance and can down the mob without my help. Even if it they, aren't, it probably gives the important mana bar healer, something to do.

My mental model for these people has been reduced to some black boxes of heal, damage or tank, with maybe 2 bits of other information--good or idiot, and (if a healer or tank) capable of supporting chain-pulling: Y/N.

RDFs really are soloing together.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Using the Stick

Another Monday, another ICC 10 run. And another test of my "talents" as a raid lead. I run a very open leadership style. If you have a suggestion of how to stomp a boss, I want to hear it. If you sign up, I want you to raid. If you see something I can do better, I want to know.

It can be a good way to raid--when it works. Sometimes, though, the raid lead needs to lay down the law. We were heading to another "special" night of wiping on Lord Marrowgar. I didn't have good sign ups at the time I was doing the slotting--and went with the raiders I had--not the ones I would have wanted. Proactively, and unusual for me, I sent out a private message to those who had signed up, saying why I had slotted as I had and hoped for some melee cancellations. It sounded a bit harsher in text after I read it, but it worked (at least so far, and I didn't get any flames in my mail box afterword).

In the end I did have to lay down the law--but not by ranting and raving but with a simple "Unless I see significant progress on this attempt I am going to stop wasting everyone's time and money here." That attempt was great until the RNG got us at about 20%--dead ranged DPS, spiked healer about a second before Bone Storm...

The next attempt got us Lord Marrowgar (who gave me his tanking weapon!), then a 1 shot on Lady Deathwhisper and the Gunship Battle. And a quality attempt on Sourfang.

So in the end, the threatened stop focused everyone tremendously, and netted much better results. We'll see if that carries to next week too, with good, early sign ups and focus next Monday.